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  • 9/14/2008

Russia says no to war, sanctions on Iran

russian president

Photo: Russia's President, Dmitry Medvedev


Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says he will not accept military action or new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear activities.

"We should not take any unilateral steps. It is not acceptable to opt for a military scenario," President Medvedev said Friday at the Valdai Club, which sees journalists and academics specializing on Russia.

His remarks come as speculation runs high that Israel and the US are drawing up plans to launch a military strike against Iran in a bid to hamper the country's nuclear program.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy suggested last week that should Iran continue with its uranium enrichment program, it could be attacked by Israel.

french president

Photo: French President Nicolas Sarkozy says a strike on Iran would not be questioned


"We could find one morning that Israel has struck (Iran)," said the French president, adding that no one would question the legitimacy of such an act of aggression.

US President George W. Bush and upper echelons in Tel Aviv have repeatedly threatened Iran with war under the pretext that Tehran, a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), seeks nuclear weaponry.

Under US pressure, the UN Security Council has so far imposed three rounds of sanctions against Iran, demanding the country to halt its enrichment program.

This is while the UN nuclear watchdog has confirmed that Iran enriches uranium-235 to a level of 3.7 percent - a rate consistent with the construction of a nuclear power plant. Nuclear arms production requires an enrichment level of above 90 percent.

The Russian president says Moscow only supports negotiations over Tehran's nuclear program, Reuters reported.

President Medvedev added that the talks between Iran and the West, led by European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, 'have been quite positive'.

"We should not adopt any additional sanctions now," he warned.

Medvedev's remarks followed a Wednesday US Treasury Department announcement that Washington has imposed new unilateral financial sanctions against Iran.

The US envoy to the UN urged members of the Security Council on Thursday to approve the sanctions. Russia's envoy, however, responded that Moscow could decide for itself how to be vigilant about Iranian financial transactions.

iranian ship

Photo: A container ship belonging to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines


In its latest anti-Iran measure, the Bush administration targeted Iran's main national carrier, Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), accusing it of aiding the country's nuclear program.

Iran called the US move counterproductive and similar 'to other baseless US allegations' against Tehran. 

Suffering from electricity shortage, Iran has been forced to adopt a rationing program by scheduling power outages - of up to two hours a day - across both urban and rural areas in the country. In the past decade, Russia has helped Tehran in the construction of a 20,000-megawatt nuclear power plant in the southern Iranian city of Bushehr.

The construction of the plant has been delayed, according to Russia's envoy to Tehran, Alexander Sadovnikov, due to the 'sanctions imposed by Western powers'.

A source close to the Russian military said Sunday that Moscow is considering providing Iran with more nuclear assistance amid its escalating tensions with Washington over the August crisis in the Caucasus - which Russia says was orchestrated by the US.

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